There have been a lot of major changes in cognitive psychology over the last thirty-odd years. One of the biggest involves the growth of connectionist approaches, which occur at the overlap between neurophysiology and Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs).
Research in these areas has brought about a much clearer understanding of the mechanisms by which the brain operates. Many of those mechanisms are profoundly counter-intuitive, and tend to be either misunderstood or completely ignored by novices, which is why I’m writing about them now, in an attempt to clarify some key points.
There are plenty of readily available texts describing how connectionist approaches work, usually involving graph theory diagrams showing weighted connections. In my experience, novices tend to find these explanations hard to follow, so in this article, I’ll use a simple but fairly solid analogy to show the underlying principles of connectionism, and of how the brain can handle tasks without that handling being located at any single point in the brain.
Original images from Pinterest and from Wikipedia; details at the end of the article.
Some ideas are better than others. This one probably belongs in the “others” category…
Have you ever wondered what would have resulted if only Dame Barbara Cartland had shared her talents with H.P. Lovecraft in a collaborative work of literature?
If so, wonder no more. This is the first in a set of articles that interweave text from one of Dame Barbara’s works with a little-known tale from Lovecraft. It’s written as if the two authors had taken it in turns to add a new sentence to the unfolding story. Between those lines, you can see the dynamic tensions of two unique talents striving to deploy their distinctive visions to best effect.
The story is told by an anonymous narrator.
I hope that this work will bring a unique new sensation to readers.
Almost every academic article begins with a literature review. As is often the case in academia, this is a rich, sophisticated art form, whose complexities are often invisible to novices. As is also often the case in academia, there are usually solid, sensible reasons for those complexities. As you may already have guessed, these reasons are usually not explained to students and other novices, which often leads to massive and long-lasting misunderstandings.
This article looks at the nature and purpose of literature reviews. It also looks at some forms of literature review which are not as widely known as they should be.
It’s quite a long article, so here’s a picture of a couple of cats as a gentle start.
What are chunking, schemata and prototypes, and why should anybody care?
The second question has a short answer. These are three core concepts in how people process and use information, so they’re centrally important to fields as varied as education and customer requirements gathering.
The first question needs a long answer, because although these concepts are all fairly simple in principle, they have a lot of overlap with each other. This has frequently led to them being confused with each other in the popular literature, which has in turn led to widespread conceptual chaos.
This article goes through the key features of these concepts, with particular attention to potential misunderstandings. It takes us through the nature of information processing, and through a range of the usual suspects for spreading needless confusion.
Original images from Wikipedia; details at the end of this article